Tourniquets not Band Aids

We are very near the 2020 presidential election and the stakes are high. I am voting, but I always vote. I plan to vote early, in person. I really want to hedge my bets.

I’ve been thinking about the mindsets of those who are considering voting third party, or not at all – if you’re voting for Trump, well, that’s for another day. I’m wondering what you hope to accomplish with that approach.

I am voting for Joe Biden. I am not thrilled with him as a candidate. I am not thrilled with our 2 party system, I recognize both have deep flaws. I am not pretending to myself that all will be Roses when Joe is in office. I’m neither delusional nor in denial. As a more mature adult, I lean toward pragmatism with a hint of wishful thinking that sometimes creeps in.

These last years have been partly, at least for me, about smashing the illusions of the greatness of this country. There are some great things about being an American, we’ve done some great things. But there are some enormous wrongs that need to acknowledged and righted, many many things to fix.

I don’t think the election of Joe Biden or any other person will magically correct the many, many things that need to be addressed. I do not think anything will be perfect or magically fixed.

I do think though, that we will begin to return to some semblance of decency, of respect for our systems and processes and That is a worthy goal right now. One could argue that there have been many terrible things done under the guise of decency, and they would not be wrong. But I believe there’s some value even in that guise, even if some of it isn’t real, if some or much is pretense. Because if that pretense exists, then the implication is that there is some degree of right and wrong that we want to attempt to adhere to, even if, as a culture we sometimes (often?) fail. We at least indicate that we understand that focusing on our own narcissistic desires and acting from that place doesn’t acknowledge our inherent connection to and therefore our interdependence on each other.

Here’s the thing. Under Trump, we have a gaping wound that has to be addressed. We are bleeding hope, decency, compassion, bleeding out environmentally, bleeding out socially, bleeding out respect and confidence in our democratic (still flawed, yes) election process for goodness sake.

A non-vote or a vote for a 3rd party candidate either ignores or throws a few band aids at the gaping wound bleeding openly in the USA – it fixes nothing and changes nothing. The stakes are too high. With Biden and Harris in office we at least put a tourniquet on the wound and we have some hope of saving the larger system before it fails entirely.

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